Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/44

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Is punishment. So come, stand up;
Transgressions must abide
The pain attendant on the scheme
That makes it justified."

So John steps forth, with sunburnt face
And hair all in a tumble,
His laughing eyes a contrast to
His drooping mouth so humble.
"Now, Mary, you must tell me all,—
I see that John will not,—
And if he's been unkind or rude
I'll whip him on the spot."

"We—we were playin' p-prisoners' base,
An' h-he is s-such a t-tease,
An' w-when I w-wasn't l-lookin', ma'am,
H-he kissed me—if you please!"
Upon the teacher's face the smiles
Have triumphed o'er the frown,
A pleasant thought runs through her mind,
The stick comes harmless down.

But outraged law must be avenged:
Begone, ye smiles, begone!
Away, ye little dreams of love!
Come on, ye frowns, come on!
"I think I'll have to whip you, John:
Such conduct breaks the rule;
No boy, except a naughty one,
Would kiss a girl—at school."

Again the teacher's rod is raised,
A Nemesis she stands:
A premium were put on sin,
If punished by such hands!
As when the bee explores the rose
We see the petals tremble,
So trembled Mary's rosebud lips;
Her heart would not dissemble.